If the Netflix series Bridgerton has had you gripped by the intrigues of Regency London, Country Life magazine takes a look at the history of Mayfair, where the series is set.
The area can trace its history back to the marriage of the heiress Mary Davies and Sir Thomas Grosvenor, whose descendants became the Dukes of Westminster. It was their eldest son, Sir Richard, who would launch the building programme that turned Mayfair into one of London’s most desirable addresses.
By the turn of the nineteenth century, Mayfair boasted aristocrats aplenty among its residents. Much later, HRH The Queen would be born in the area – in her grandfather’s house, on Bruton Street – an address also featured heavily in Bridgerton.
Visit Mayfair today and you’ll find a stunning mix of architectural styles; from Regency flourish to Edwardian splendour and bold contemporary design – all of it amidst cute garden squares, unique shops and buildings with a story to tell. The corner of Curzon Street, for example, once housed a chapel where many a clandestine Georgian wedding took place.
The area is steeped in the history of science and the arts and home to major venues, such as the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Institution – a cornerstone of British scientific discovery.
Of course, the doors of such great Mayfair institutions are currently closed. But, according to Royal Academy’s president Rebecca Salter, “We exist to exhibit art and invite people to come in and see it, so we are absolutely focused on opening the minute we can.”
Mayfair also has its place in musical history. In the 18th century, Brook Street was home to the composer Frideric Handel. Skip forward a couple of centuries and Jimi Hendrix took up residence in the house next door. Both are celebrated in Mayfair’s Handel and Hendrix museum, which, in normal times, offers tours and organises concerts and parties.
Read more about Mayfair in this Country Life article.